The Central West AFL’s proposed push to a two-tier men’s competition has been pushed back at least one more season, with the status quo maintained for season 2019.
The six-team competition will stay in place after established clubs raised concerns at their league-wide meeting in Orange on Sunday.
CWAFL development coordinator Casey White said the league’s regional committee would review feedback from Sunday’s “lengthy discussion” with clubs before deciding what the best way forward would be.
However, several spots in the committee still need to be filled before the process can begin, with the league hoping those to be taken care of in short order.
We don’t want to put a date on it yet.Casey White on a new proposal
“With the length of discussion had, we’d have so much planning to do prior to next year we decided to move it back,” White said of the decision.
“We don’t want to put a date on it yet … there were things didn’t take into consideration as much as we could have.”
He said the main concern was clubs falling over just before the start of the season, with lack of numbers in towns like Cowra and Young a concern, but league are still keen on a two-tier system should they be confident they can make it work.
White said the main things clubs wanted out of the meeting was certainty, and he said they were “appreciative a decision was made”, with clubs concerned about planning for the 2019 season without knowing the structure it would take.
Orange Tigers president Ben Cullis last week said he was concerned the clubs might fall over before the season kicked off, potentially leaving the two-tier proposal in a lurch.
The CWAFL wasn’t confident enough of securing those clubs for the 2019 season, but smaller clubs – especially Mudgee – have supported the Country Cup idea in principal.
White said there would still be refinements to that idea, with the possibility of a 14-a-side competition floated, but there was support from smaller clubs for a shorter season and reduced player numbers.
While there isn’t a time-frame for the CWAFL regional committee to respond with a new proposal, White said the league would work with clubs during the 2019 season to strengthen their structures and committees, and also go about recruiting players.
He said in larger towns word of mouth was the main source of recruitment, which became more of an issue in smaller towns without a team.
Both Cowra and Mudgee both made positive noises in the lead-up to the meeting, but White said he hadn’t personally heard anything from Young in regards to a return to the competition.
The league hopes to have a revised proposal done before Christmas.